Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (78) It Happened One Christmas (Part 03)
Kirsty Wishaw walked up the hill from Sharpington just after six o’clock as she did every morning and she was normally the only soul heading through Jubilee Park at that time on a winter morning but she had seen several people that morning but she thought nothing of it nor did she give the acrid smell in the air a second thought it was only when she got into Whitecliff Hill Caravan Park that she noticed blue lights in the distance and her first thought was a break in at the shop so she quickened her stride.
She soon realised that the blue glow from the lights was nowhere near the shop so her curiosity got the better of her so she went to investigate.
Which was when she saw Phil Spurgeon sitting on the back of an ambulance with a blanket wrapped around him.
Her heart sank immediately and all the feelings she had for him that she had been trying to suppress burst free and she ran towards him
“Oh my God are you alright?” she blurted “What happened, are you injured?”
“I’m fine” he said and when he saw how concerned she was for him he knew his novel wasn’t so important, he wanted her to be a distraction, in fact he wanted her to distract his socks off.
“Are you sure?” she asked with real concern
“Yes he’s good to go” Paramedic Andy Mason confirmed and slapped him on the back in fact over the next ten minutes a lot of people patted him on the back as they ambled along towards the scene of the fire, including several firemen.
The Taylor’s Caravan had completely gone but the homes either side were relatively unscathed, a bit black and sooty but nothing major, Phil couldn’t get back in his at that stage because the Firefighters wanted to make sure there was no damaged to the gas fittings.
As they stood looking at the mess Kirsty shivered and in response Phil put his arm around her and she liked how it felt, and a few minutes later they were joined by another resident Ken Baily
“Well done Phil” he said and shook his hand
“Well done for what?” she asked “Why does everyone keep patting you on the back?”
“Didn’t you tell her?” Ken asked him and Phil shook his head
“Young Phil hear raised the alarm and got everyone out”
“Really?” she asked “Why didn’t you say something?”
He didn’t reply but then it was a rhetorical question really, she knew the answer, he was just that type of person who acts without thinking and doesn’t believe he’s done anything special because he thinks he has merely done what any other human being would have done.
He was just thankful that everyone got out safely but he was desperately sad because the Taylor's had lost everything.
Being their neighbour he knew how hard they had worked to get back on their feet after having such torrid times and as they watched one firefighter raking through the ashes while another doused the embers it was truly evident that they had lost absolutely everything to the fire, smoke and water, including all the children’s clothes and the Christmas presents.
All that remained amidst the ashes were a few scraps of melted toys, half-burned books and scorched and tattered clothing.
“How cruel” Phil said